A week or so just before I left for India in 2012, I visited this paradise called El Nido in the northeastern tip of Palawan. There, I met Stepanka (in picture), a Czech woman, and Pedro, her Portuguese boyfriend (they now have a baby!). I did a one-day tour of the islands off the El Nido coast and got my seat in a boat where I am the only Filipino. I still remember the Russian guy (who claimed to be an astronaut but chose to be a trucker as it’s a more financially-rewarding job), and this guy who joined the tour but stayed on the boat (as he already saw most “visible” creatures under the sea in past travels), and this Canadian couple (who didn’t really say much but seemed happy and content). The tour was really worth it, to experience what a day in El Nido can offer. I vowed to return to El Nido one day and finally, tickets are booked! Though it’s not for a few more months, I am already looking forward to once again marvel in the natural beauty and diversity of El Nido and Palawan, above or under the sea.
It’s been a while since I last had a long vacation (last ones were in Hong Kong and Macau in January and Baler in April) so when the chance to go to Coron came up, I just couldn’t let it pass. Palawan is known as one of or probably the last frontier here in the Philippines in terms of it’s natural beauty, picturesque landscape and rich marine biodiversity. And, Coron and Busuanga, due to its relatively more difficult (read: tends to be more expensive) accessibility by flights and ferries, remains to be as such.
Unfortunately, typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) already ravaged a lot of its magnificent corals and fell trees. There were reportedly 6 casualties and some islands’ structures succumbed and totally collapsed. Nevertheless, Busuanga and Coron remain to be a beauty that everyone needs to see. And like what E and I probably said all the time during the trip, we are in our happy place!
So, through this quick Instagram Travel post of our vacay (Aug 22-27, 2014) let us (the self-proclaimed Cool Kids Club, aka CS Weekend Escapists, aka CouchSurfers and friends) take you to our happy place!
On our way back to Puerto Princesa after the Underground River tour, we stopped by Sabang Beach to partake of the buffet lunch that was part of the tour package. Though I think it isn’t a top tourist, at least for tour package enjoying Pinoys, Sabang Beach is actually pretty cool — blue waters, nice sand, and a lot of coconut/palm trees. Eating all you can, enjoying the waves, and basking in the midday sun — just some of the things you can do while chilling by Sabang Beach, even just for an hour or two. >
(I didn’t really want to break my Backpacking South East Asia series but really, really want to share my recent trip in El Nido while the memories are still as clear as its waters.)
My heart really felt heavy when I left El Nido. And I am not saying this cause I’m being cheesy or anything. Truly, El Nido has captured my heart that morning as I walked on the beach, just basking in the calmness of the sea. The islands had such an effect on me that I just couldn’t stop myself from gazing in awe. To top it all, meeting people from different places and seeing cultures blend seamlessly right before your eyes is but an icing on the cake for a memorable El Nido trip. Continue reading El Nido: a paradise and a promise